Lest, when I come again - And even after all that has been done for you, I fear that when I do come - when I pay you my second visit, my God will humble me - will permit me to be affected with deep sorrow through what I may see among you; as I have been by the buffetings of the apostle of Satan, who has perverted you. Humiliation is repeatedly used for affliction, and here ταπεινωσῃ has certainly that meaning.
Have sinned already - Προημαρτηκοτων· Who have sinned before; who were some of the first offenders, and have not yet repented.
Of the uncleanness, etc. - There must have been a total relaxation of discipline, else such abominations could not have been tolerated in the Christian Church. And although what is here spoken could only be the ease of a few; yet the many were ill disciplined, else these must have been cast out. On the whole, this Church seems to have been a composition of excellences and defects, of vices and virtues; and should not be quoted as a model for a Christian Church.
And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me - Lest I should be compelled to inflict punishment on those whom I suppose to have been converted under my ministry. I had rejoiced in them as true converts: I had counted them as among the fruit of my ministry. Now to be compelled to inflict punishment on them as having no religion would mortify me and humble me. The infliction of punishment on members of the church is a sort of punishment to him who inflicts it as well as to him who is punished. Members of the church should walk uprightly, lest they overwhelm the ministry in shame.
And that I shall bewail many - If they repented of their sin he could still rejoice in them. If they continued in their sin until he came, it would be to him a source of deep lamentation. It is evident from the word “many” here that the disorders had prevailed very extensively in the church at Corinth. The word rendered “have sinned already” means “who have sinned before,” and the idea is, that they were old offenders, and that they had not yet repented.
The uncleanness - see note, Romans 1:24.
And fornication and lasciviousness - see the notes on 1 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 6:18. This was the sin to which they were particularly exposed in Corinth, as it was the sin for which that corrupt city was particularly distinguished. See the introduction to the First Epistle. Hence, the frequent cautions in these epistles against it; and hence, it is not to be wondered at that some of those who had become professing Christians had fallen into it. It may be added that it is still the sin to which converts from the corruptions and licentiousness of paganism are particularly exposed.